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Scorpion shows off its low speed handling characteristics during a mock interception of a Cessna 182 flying at 120 KCAS

Textron AirLand's Scorpion ISR/Strike aircraft reaches 50 test flight hours and achieves mach 0.72 air speed

Textron AirLand, LLC, a joint venture between Textron Inc. and AirLand Enterprises, LLC, today announced that the Scorpion has completed 50 hours of flight time since the start of flight testing in December 2013. The objective of recent flights has been to gather data about the aircraft's performance at various speeds, altitudes and climb rates, as well as to assess the responsiveness of Scorpion's avionics, flight controls and landing system.

Results of the test program to date:

• 50 hours total flight time, across 26 separate flights

• Envelope tested: Flight Level 300 (30,000 ft.), 310 KCAS, 0.72 Mach, +3.7 g-force/-0.5 g-force

• Maximum airspeed tested: 430 KTAS

• Single-engine climbs

• Stall speeds <90 KCAS

• Single engine shutdown and restart, in-flight

• Demonstration of low-speed aircraft interception mission

The pilots report that the aircraft is nimble and agile with plenty of power, including single engine climbs. Scorpion has very good low speed characteristics. It handles very well in the landing pattern and is stable when in the landing configuration.

“The aircraft systems have performed well within the expected parameters, with very few issues,” said Scorpion's chief engineer, Dale Tutt. “This is a significant benefit of using mature, non-developmental systems: in addition to reducing the overall development time of the prototype aircraft, the systems have proven to be very reliable.”

Test pilot Dan Hinson added, “The flight control systems are powered by dual hydraulic systems based on the Citation X business jet, and have performed flawlessly. In the event of a loss of both hydraulic systems, the airplane can be flown in manual reversion.”

The Avionics Systems are also non-developmental and performing well. The system is not highly integrated to maintain affordable life cycle costs, so the Scorpion testing team is able to easily make changes to the system without causing problems in other areas. “We routinely make software updates to the avionics system in days, not months,” said Tutt.

The Scorpion testing program remains on pace to complete 300-400 test hours this year, which will require about 150 flights. This is expected to include a number of international flights, pending the standard approvals.

Press release issued by Textron AirLand, LLC on April 9, 2014

 

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